Black clothing—particularly when that clothing is the high-end stuff of red-carpet couture—has a way of refining things, of clarifying things, of cutting to the chase: Stripped of bright color and its pretty distractions, the focus can become the details that allow fashion to double as art. The perfect tailoring. The artful seaming. The layering and beading and draping. The testing of craft—and of true skill and talent and artistry—that tends to come with constraint.
Black was the color of the evening on the red carpet of the 2018 Golden Globes: In sartorial solidarity with the Time’s Up movement—which aims to fight sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond—celebrities rejected the fuschias and jades and bronzes that have made past ceremonies such beautiful spectacles and, instead, almost uniformly wore black. This was meant to inspire deeper conversation: about #TimesUp, about #MeToo, about Hollywood, about justice.
It succeeded, to the extent any such shift could have been expected to: The celebrities’ outfits, which normally speak subtly—about their wearers, about their designers, about the culture of a moment—spoke, this time around, stridently. They forced conversations on the red carpet about fairness, about structural change: not “Who are you wearing?” but “Why are you wearing it?” And, so, there was a paradox at play on the red carpet on Sunday evening: The clothes in one way mattered more than ever. And the clothes, in another, mattered not at all. While the dresses and jumpsuits donned by invited celebrities were accessorized, often, with striking accessories and glittering jewels—a black dress can, on top of everything else, serve as a canvas for other forms of wearable art—the accessories most in demand were words.